Skip to navigationSkip to content
Children walk through a field of rapeseed near Boroughbridge in northern England
Reuters/Nigel Roddis
My mum cooks courgettes with this stuff.
HEALTH NUTS

What posh Brits are eating now: almond milk, Medjool dates, and all things coconut

By Jenny Anderson

Waitrose, a high-end supermarket in Britain, polls its high-end customers every year. The company asks customers what they buy and how they cook. They mix in their own sales data. The results are an annual sociological snapshot (pdf) of how the British middle-to-upper classes live and eat.

They are living, and eating, pretty well. And by well, I mean health-wise.

One in four respondents said they forego booze during the week (I have not met these people). And yet, sales of individual-sized wine bottles were up by over 25% on the year.

Although 80% of people said they did not believe what heath “experts” have to say, a lot of them seem to be heeding their advice. Soy milk is out; almond milk is in. Rapeseed oil has overtaken olive oil as the cooking oil of choice and Waitrose has developed its own virgin cold-pressed coconut oil as “the wellness sensation goes mainstream.”  Avocado is the most pinned food on Pinterest in the UK, while roasted tomato and avocado toast was the fourth most popular recipe on the Waitrose YouTube Channel.

In addition:

  • Sales of cacao bars are up 37% as health gurus recommend them for a hint of sweetness in cakes and desserts (Brits love their cakes)
  • Sugar consumption is down: 36% of people have cut back on sugar in the past year. “It’s almost as if sugar is the new fat,” says Jonathan Moore, Waitrose’s executive chef
  • Sales of a Medjool dates are up 16% after being championed by clean-eating writer and blogger Ella Woodward, otherwise known as Deliciously Ella
  • Sales of gluten-free and dairy-free ranges are up 20% and are among the most popular subjects on Waitrose’s multiple social media platforms
  • Courgette (zucchini) sales are up thanks to the spiralizing craze in which vegetables are turned into noodles—or zoodles

Back to booze. If some in the UK say they are giving up alcohol during the week, others are taking up the slack: sales of gin are up 300% and gin courses at the Waitrose cooking school “always sell out,” the report says. Craft beer sales are up 34% and vermouth 24% (thank you Don Draper). Brits still love bubbles, though not the old-fashioned ones: Prosecco outsells champagne by nearly a factor of two to one—there was a shortage last year—but Rosé champagne sales were up 46%.

And for the truly adventurous, sales of English wine nearly doubled last year.